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Page 92 of 123 ROCK products • August 2018 • 91 Aggregates Industry Almanac MSHA Report Laura O'Neill-Kaumo, NSSGA senior vice president of gov- ernment and regulatory affairs, and Joseph Casper, NSSGA vice president of safety, expressed a desire to help update outdated equipment standards and communicate best prac- tices on seat belt use and fall protection. NSSGA reinforced the differences between coal and aggre- gates operations to the Zatezalo, who recently acknowledged that the agency has typically been viewed as a coal-centric organization. Zatezalo reiterated his desire for uniform enforcement across aggregates operations. He cautioned that it will take time to bring about these kinds of reforms and that he wants to hear any legitimate concerns from stake- holders, personally. Unpaid Fines Zatezalo and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced that the agency will look to collect $67 million of unpaid fines issued over the last decade. Known as the MSHA Scofflaw Program, the agency issued 16 citations for failing to pay penalties since 2007. "Ulti- mately, a more robust Scofflaw Program is about more than collecting unpaid fines. It is about promoting the health and safety of America's proud miners," Zatezalo wrote in a March 6 opinion piece published by The Intelligencer Wheel- ing News-Register. "If operators fail to show good faith and arrange to pay their penalties, MSHA will pursue them with every means under the law." Secretary Acosta told members of the House Appropriations Committee's Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee that recouping those unpaid fines are a high priority. "Beginning immediately, we are notifying individuals that have not paid their fines – and they need to pay their fines. We have legal methods at our disposal that we can imple- ment if they have not paid those fines," he said. NSSGA said it continues to push MSHA to provide support for compliance, including providing funding for small mines, so that operators and regulators work together to improve safety. The aggregates industry recently achieved a record- low injury rate of 1.74 per 200,000 hours worked. It is the 17th consecutive year that the rate improved. New Technology According to Avi Meyerstein of the law firm Husch Black- well's Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation team, MSHA announced that its mine safety inspectors are joining the digital age. Goodbye, "general field notes" on lined paper. Hello, customized tablets. MSHA said that it's now starting to deploy the new system, which it calls the "Mobile Inspection Application System (Mobile IAS)." It soon expects to connect all of its nearly 1,500 mine inspectors and enforcement staff with the technology. For the last 18 years, MSHA inspectors had to carry a mul- titude of tools: "bulky" laptops, cameras, legal and policy reference materials, and documentation. Now, a single tablet will combine and replace all of those functions in one device and application. Of course, the goal is that they will also be easier to use and more secure. MSHA said the new system will "facilitate data capture and streamline the inspection process." "Enabling mine inspectors to work more efficiently means more time to focus on the health and safety of America's miners," said Zatezalo. "MSHA's Mobile IAS is expected to improve the quality of information by eliminating redun- dancy, and provide more timely information for inspectors." The new MSHA system includes: •  A Windows-based, semi-ruggedized tablet with camera, video, audio recording, touch screen, digital pen, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. •  A custom application "with photo capture and fillable, pre-populated forms." • Efficient data transfer among devices and the MSHA Stan- dardized Information System. What does this mean for you? For one thing, we should expect a learning curve. You may have to bear with inspec- tors as they put the new system through its paces and try to capture notes, photos, and maybe more during inspections. No doubt, MSHA will provide significant training to its employees on using the new devices. But, rolling out new technology can be a bumpy road even in companies where the work force is accustomed to the latest high-tech gear. At MSHA, this may be a major upgrade. Armed with these new tools, will inspectors try to record more photos, audio or video? Will the challenges of reading some inspectors' handwriting on field notes be a thing of the past? Will MSHA be able to provide inspection files more quickly (when it's willing to do so) before conferences and/ or litigation? If MSHA inspectors are like any other workforce, we should expect a wide range of user skills and adoption. Some will make full use of the new devices while others may struggle to do the bare minimum. The system will only be as good as its users, and the training and support they receive. But, if the tablets eventually do result in more efficient inspections, they could be a win for everyone.

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